Last updated: 18 October, 2014

Tunisia urges Libya to find missing journalists

Prime Minister Mongi Hamdi on Saturday urged Libya to locate two Tunisian journalists who went missing in the neighbouring violence-hit country after their arrest by an armed group.

Investigative journalist Sofiene Chourabi and photographer Nadhir Ktari disappeared on September 8 in the eastern Libyan region of Ajdabiya.

According to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the pair were on assignment in Libya and were seized by a militia in the eastern city of Brega on September 6 but later released.

They disappeared again, probably seized by another armed group.

“I hold Libya totally responsible for finding them the abducted (journalists), for setting them free as quickly as possible… and I hold them responsible for their security,” Mongi said.

He told private Mosaique FM radio that he had passed on that message to the Libyan authorities.

Libya has been rocked by violence and political instability since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Two separate governments and rival parliaments are vying for power, as militias lock horns in deadly fighting in several parts of the North African country.

RSF last month called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the two journalists.

Chourabi is the host and producer of the programme “Dossiyates” for Tunisia’s First TV, RSF said in September, and was investigating the situation on the Tunisian-Libyan border.

“I assigned Sofiene Chourabi the task of going to Libya to purse his investigation. Sofiene is an investigative journalist who is well known for his professionalism,” First TV chairman Kais Mabrouk told RSF.

Rival militias battled for Tripoli’s international airport this summer, shutting the facility and prompting an exodus of expatriates and migrant workers.

Thousands of them tried to flee across the border with Tunisia, where authorities allowed in only Libyan and Tunisian nationals unless they were only transiting the country.